Where to eat in Rome and avoid tourists traps (part 1): our 11 recommended restaurants

It’s not hard to eat well in Rome restaurants, but it’s also easy to eat badly, if you don’t come prepared. Tourists who don’t do their research on where to eat in Rome often find themselves walking in circles around the streets near the Pantheon, wondering whether they should be tempted by the giant laminated English/French/German/Chinese menu on display in front of a restaurant, while an over-eager waiter gestures towards the nearest table.

If it looks like a tourist trap, it probably is a tourist trap. Stay clear of restaurants where the staff harangue passers-by, the lengthy menu is translated in every possible language, and there isn’t a single Italian customer. These kinds of restaurants abound in the streets near major tourist attractions such as the Colosseum and the Pantheon, so it can be difficult to find a good, authentic restaurant in these areas. But good restaurants do exist – if you know where to look.


Where to eat near the Colosseum and Roman Forum

 These are some of the best Rome restaurants within walking distance of the Colosseum and Roman Forum:

  • Caffè Propaganda (Via Claudia 15). An elegant restaurant just a short walk from the Colosseum, offering modern cuisine in a refined setting. (+39 06 9453 4255)
  • Volare (Via di S. Giovanni in Laterano 48). Delicious Roman and Sardinian cuisine with a view of the Colosseum. It’s ideal for dinner at sunset, and reasonably priced, considering the location. (+39 06 6476 4939)

 Google Street view from the Restaurant “Volare”

  • I Clementini (Via di S. Giovanni in Laterano 106). A cosy family-run restaurant serving up a mixture of traditional Roman cuisine and more modern dishes. (+39 06 4542 6395)
  • La Taverna dei Fori Imperiali (Via Madonna della Monti 9). This popular restaurant in the lively Monti neighbourhood has a reputation for great food and reasonable prices, so it tends to get busy. Arrive at opening time or book a table. (+39 06 679 8643)
  • Le Tavernelle (Via Panisperna 48). This classic restaurant in Monti claims to be one of the oldest in Rome. Prices are slightly higher than average, but with a great atmosphere and delicious fish dishes, it’s worth it. (+39 06 474 0724)
  • La Carbonara (Via Panisperna 214). Another famous restaurant on Monti’s most picturesque street. The menu is traditional Roman – expect cacio e pepe, amatriciana and, of course, carbonara – and prices are good value. Service is fast, so it’s a good option for a quick lunch, but if you come in the evening, you should definitely book a table. (+39 06 482 5176)

Rome restaurants: the best places to eat near the Pantheon and Piazza Navona

The area near the Pantheon and Piazza Navona is beautiful, but also one of the most touristy in Rome. Avoid the tourist traps and try one of the best Rome restaurants:

  •  Il Corallo (Via del Corallo 10-11). Delicious traditional dishes, a friendly atmsosphere, and very reasonable prices considering you’re just round the corner from Piazza Navona. If you eat at Il Corallo, make the most of your time in the neighbourhood. Why not stop off at Chiostro del Bramante for a coffee after lunch, or enjoy a drink in Piazza del Fico after dinner? (+39 06 6830 7703)
  • Da Francesco (Piazza del Fico 29). A comfortable spot for lunch, with great pizzas and generous portions. Popular with tourists and locals alike. (+39 06 686 4009)

    The famous Carbonara at “Grappolo d’Oro
  • Il Grappolo d’oro (Piazza della Cancelleria 80). A classic Roman osteria near Campo de’ Fiori, famed for its carbonara – the best in Rome? – and friendly staff. (+39 06 689 7080)
  • Ditirambo (Piazza della Cancelleria 74). Ditirambo has the same owners as Il Grappolo d’oro, but it’s slightly more upmarket. A good choice if you’re looking for something a bit fancier than the usual Roman classics. (+39 06 687 1626)
  • Armando al Pantheon (Salita dei Crescenzi 31). You may find it hard to believe, but there is in fact an excellent restaurant in very close proximity to the Pantheon. Armando is well-known for its high quality modern cuisine and elegant setting. It’s not cheap, but for the location and quality, it’s good value. (+39 06 6880 3034)

Read more: 30 best restaurants in Rome (Conde Nast Traveler)